The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Farm fresh can be problematic

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

Farm fresh can be problematic

I use farm fresh eggs all the time, I work on an egg farm so they are always available.

However, they are not always what you want exactly as they are not graded for defects.

Case in point, recently while making crepes and adding cracked eggs directly into the mix one at a time I noticed a defect egg fall into the mix which was then ruined. It a complete failure but one that is always funny to egg producers yet everyone else thinks it's disgusting.

So for now on it's one cracked egg at a time into a bowl before adding it to the mix :) 

browndog's picture
browndog

Defect egg as in no longer technically an egg so  much as a cradle? 'Cause I have definitely had that experience. Very educational.

By the way, I made your pfeffernuse over Christmas and posted a picture in the gallery and at the recipe thread. The friend I made them for said they were better than the ones she grew up with from the Boston area bakeries. That's something.

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

Well, to begin with there are no roosters present after the first few days of the hens life on the farm. What it is in the egg is that sometimes there is a blood clot within the shell and on rare occasions it is a big clot or what we call a "blood egg", smaller clots appear as tiny or small specks in the liquid.

As JERSK pointed out candling is used to determine egg contents both clean and fertilized.

I'm glad you had such good success with the pfeffernusse, mine were a little too spicy this year and I left them a tad too long in the convection oven :(

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

If you meant what floyd said.....how can you tell when they are no longer eggs? :(

 

eeps! 

dstroy's picture
dstroy

What sort of defects does one encounter with them? (curious)

The worst story I heard was of the egg from a hen that had evidently been located by a rogue rooster, even though these were *not* supposed to be fertilized eggs... eww.

my friend who shared this tale with me also added that after seeing the little chick fall into the pan, the entire family swore off eggs for a good long while after that.

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

Thats what I am afraid of :S

Is does anyone know of a way to detect these eggs that are no longer eggs? :S

 

I think I'd swear off eggs for a long time too if that were me!

 

 

browndog's picture
browndog

That's the 'defect' I was refering to, anyway. Happened with two eggs in the same dozen--really quite an extraordinary experience, instant biology lesson. 

You don't need to worry about fertilized eggs unless you are getting farm eggs where a rooster is present, and the candling does work. 

audra36274's picture
audra36274

They are considered to be a prized possession in Asia and the Phillipines. I couldn't stomach one but.....yuck!!! Just look it up on Google and the wikipedia article. My dad had spoke of these from the Army days. Well anyway....

                                                                                        Audra

browndog's picture
browndog

Now, Audra, THAT grosses me out...but it figures, doesn't it, that they'd be a delicacy somewhere.

JERSK's picture
JERSK

    I've raised chickens with a rooster and occasionally an egg is missed and found later. If you put eggs into cold water you can judge their freshness. An air space develops on one end of the egg as it gets older. when you put fresh eggs into a bowl of cold water they will lay down flat as there is no air space. As they get older the air space will cause the egg to gradually stand up. If they are standing straight up, they're still O.K. but should be cooked right away. If you get a floater, chuck it. You can also candle eggs to look for embryo development. Put the egg in front of a bright light with no additional side lighting. Like a box with a light bulb in it. If there is a chick in there you should be able to see it. Cold water is easier.

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

There are misshapen eggs (spherical, pencil shaped, giant, and tiny), multi yolk eggs (I've only seen one 4 yolk egg but it was about as big as a soft ball), soft shell eggs are common as birds age (like humans with weak bones) and rarely an egg within an egg.

I've never seen a fertilized egg, even where a farmer has a rooster left with the hens. But I would probably swear off them if I did, not for long though. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Lately, one in every ten, looks bumpy and rugged, my son thinks they're cool and asked me to carefully blow them for an Dinosaur Easter tree.  (Can you imagine what the Easter Bunny should look like?)  Even though my eggs are right from the farm, they always candle them first and sort the sizes.  I especially like the new hens eggs that are tiny, you can make a lots of deviled eggs.  The eggs are sold by individual price: 20cents an egg - 10 eggs to a box for Grade A Large

Softball size egg?  Poor chicken, probably the last egg from her...ouch!  We once had a pair of geese and the eggs were fantastic!  Rich tasting large eggs, when beat with a little water, the scrambled eggs, well, you would've thought I added cream to them.  Had to really search for the eggs, the birds were always changing their "nest."  

Mini O

JERSK's picture
JERSK

    My chickens used to lay "bumpy'"egs quite a bit. I never thought much about and they were fine.You do get other defects occasionally. No yolk, small yolk, bloody yolks tiny eggs. There's nothing wrong with fertilized eggs. The embryo can't develop if they're refrigerated. A broody hen has to sit on them or they have to be incubated. Most of the hens that are used in egg production are bred for non-broodiness. Is that a word? We always had a few other hens that would sit on eggs, but they usually gave up. You have to block them off from the others to get them to hatch eggs. A friend of mine had a peahen that laid an egg, but wouldn't sit on it. He got three little bantam hens to sit on it. The egg was almost as big as them. They hatched it.

JIP's picture
JIP

You know it is kind of funny to hear the people who "swore off eggs" for a while after that experience. I think being on a farm brings people alot more face-to-face with what they are eating. I mean you get a, as it has been put, "cradle" instead of an egg oh well you eat meat right?? what is the difference I guess this had eyes. I don't want to sound preachy because I am not trying to be I just think alot of people should be alot closer to the food they eat is all. I guess I am one of those buy-local whenever you can people and if at all possible produce it yourself but I guess this is what the board is pretty much all about right???.

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

ah, I dont eat meat....and thats where it gets difficult. I know what I am eating, and do so rarely, and feel somehow that perhaps I should just give up eggs altogether, but, I know what a great sourse of protein they are, and are good in a fix. :S Plus, hubby and daughter love them.

When we have our own chickens (for eggs and manure only) sometimes in the future.....I'll be candling all my eggs if we've a rooster!

What a thing to wake up to when your cracking the top off your soft boiled egg!

 

 

browndog's picture
browndog

Greenbaker, I don't eat meat either but have not the temperament to go vegan, and eggs seem so like 'potential' rather than 'actual' that eating them is a nonissue for me. 

As has been mentioned, today's egg-layer hens aren't even 'broody'--most of them don't want the eggs either!

Funny thing, when I cracked open those couple of chicks, it was a very unfoodlike experience, and much more like a page in a biology textbook. It was really rather interesting, though sitting down with napkin and spoon in hand might make it a bit more startling.

GlindaBunny's picture
GlindaBunny

you know what?  i'm not hungry any more.

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I had a couple of "bad eggs" from a batch in class. I jumped back really fast and I'm not sure if it was a potential chick or just rotten (tossed it without really examining it). Funny as it was from an organic eggs supplier! Actually I think this means that their non-factory setting either allowed them to have roosters, or they had more of a chance to hide eggs and this caused an old one to get through. It was not a fun experience, but I got over it :)

 

I've got chickens too, just girlzz though. Besides different shapes and textures, never had a real strange specimen--except when they first started laying I had tons of double yolkers. I'm not vegetarian but do appreciate where my food comes from--having chickens has been very educational (and useful, the eggs and garden compost are great!). I can't buy factory eggs anymore, and try to get as much of my meat locally as I can... I've thought about trying a few "broilers" one year but I don't know if we could do it--I'm sure it would be enlightening.

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

I'm the same as you regarding knowing where my food comes from. I may not eat meat, but hubby and the fae (6yo) do and if I cook it, we get it from local farms. Eggs, sadly we get from mass produced Tesco (supermarket) but, still, from farms in and around the area in southern and eastern Britain, and free range organic. I cant handle the horror stories I read online about the poor animals and what we eat...I think the last thing that made me realise how unclean and easily contaminated our food is was the whole guten scandal in China. I swore off mass produced and non organic food then except if I couldnt help it...but we're slowly working toward being 100% non mass producuction.  (was already heading that way anyway)

What an experience in the classroom! *shudders*

 

 

 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I'd love to have hens to gather eggs from, but I've got my hands full right now - especially considering that there are coyotes in this area and the hens would need to be securely inside after dark.

For anyone in the North Texas area, Fran's Fryer's has great organic free-range chickens. My co-op orders them every few months. I don't know how far away Fran's delivers.

This topic reminds me of the book Omnivore's Dillemna - a great read that discusses just where our food comes from and why. It doesn't make any judgements as to the superiority of one system or the other, but lays them out quite clearly.

browndog's picture
browndog

egg collectionyour brain on drugs

 

 

 

 

 

dstroy's picture
dstroy

aw man... yum! I miss that golden orange look and flavor. I'm looking forward to the summer when the local farmers markets get going again around here!

browndog's picture
browndog

That's exactly why, dstroy, I posted a picture of fried eggs--for the gold of the yolks.

In case anybody was wondering.

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

I've been reading the whole egg thread with interest. Your photo of the Araucana and other eggs is beautiful. We have 6 hens, no roosters and delicious eggs like shown in your picture. Our hens are just starting up again after molting (getting new feathers) for a couple of months so we've been buying from a neighbor. We're lucky we can buy organic mash and corn nearby and we give them table scraps. There is no egg as delicious as one laid the day you eat it. Even if it was laid 2 or 3 weeks before you ate it it's still fresher than any in the store. And the flavor of the store egg can't compare. They make beautiful yellow challahs and golden noodles. This morning at breakfast my husband said "My chickens eggs (I let him think they're his because he does all the chicken chores) and your homemade bread...life is good".

 

Everyone can't keep chickens but we can demand fresh healthy eggs from hens that really are outside running around having a good life. TWO OF OUR GIRLS

 

TWO OF OUR GIRLS

I never had an egg that was halfway to a chick and hope I never do! It can't happen in my hen house, of course, but my neighbor has roosters.

weavershouse

Ramona's picture
Ramona

My brother raised chickens when I was growing up.  We had roosters too.  He had a variety of them, some bantam, some were the large white kind, and he even had some that I think were a Polish variety, that looked like they had fluffy hats on.  We had one small hen that would lay a small round egg with no yoke.  And we had some that would lay double-yoked eggs.  We always had eggs, mostly brown ones.  I never had problems from the hens, when I gathered the eggs, which I did very day.  I want to raise my own chickens now, but I cannot have a rooster where I currently live and I want a rooster, so I am waiting until I move.  I buy fertile eggs from Trader Joe's right now. 

browndog's picture
browndog

Thanks for the pretty chicken picture!

I know nothing about them but I think they are beautiful, and your girls look prime and healthy.

The eggs in the photo are from the Woods' (cider jelly) farm. I get told what kind of hen lays which eggs and remember all of two seconds, but the eggs fascinate me--from tawny brown to khaki to olive to greenish and even blue. I'm glad you knew, weavershouse, because it'd be a while before I could find out, if anyone asked.

Although I like chickens and love egg-gathering, I'm not planning to expand my menagerie to include them. When the hens are laying there are always too many, and when they're not, there's none for anyone. Your system is the best one--let somebody else do the chicken-keeping, while you take over once the eggs are in the kitchen.

You must be quite rural--I know you live in an old farmhouse, but sometimes farmhouses are surrounded by suburbia, and neighbors complain about rooster alarm clocks. Sounds like you don't have that problem.

Does your husband light the birds in the winter? (And that quote about what makes life good assures me that I would find your husband a fine and charming fellow.)

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Weavershouse and Browndog:

You are doing it to me again! First the apples, and now the chickens and the eggs..... I am so envious.

I'll trade you some Meyer Lemons for some farm fresh eggs?

Gorgeous eggs. I adore fresh eggs (and rarely get them!)

Liz

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

 My hens thank you. They're about two and a half years old and seem very happy even the Barred Rock with the suspicious look in her eye. A grandaughter named her Queenie and Queen she is. Our daughter in Texas works at the corporate headquarters of a large corporation. I sent her a picture of Queenie and my daughter's boss had it blown up and hung in the office. At meetings she (the boss) turns to it and says "Now what would Queenie do?".  Get's a good laugh I guess.

 

We're not so rural anymore :( but we have great neighbors so I can't complain. You're right about too many eggs/no eggs but that's the way it naturally goes. We don't put lights in the coop because we don't want to force them to lay out of season. Maybe we should send them to Florida for the sun.

 

One other thing. I just found out the man who built our house in the early to mid 1800's (still checking) came from Plainfield, Vermont! He must still be here with his wife and they're the ones who keep trying to get me to visit Vermont. Maybe they hitch a ride and go along with us.                                                                                                                      weavershouse

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

Oh look at those eggs! Those Chickens!

How gorgeous!

 

Yes I remember to this day that taste of the fresh eggs from my grandma's chickens. They were lovely, and I loved collecting them. I think some of my happiest memories were collecting the eggs whislt being terrified of the birds, and eating them soft boiled for breakfast :) Oh and collecting the carrots and washing them for dinner. :)

Thank Weaverhouse and Browndog for reminding me of these things with the occasion peek into your lives :) 

audra36274's picture
audra36274

The hens and the orangey rich yummy yolks make me want to get my hen house going again. It would be easy. It is still all intact, just a nail here and there. My 5 year old needs to see first hand where they come from. I had hens for years, and eventually got tired of washing eggs to give away (there is always too many) , and now dang you browndog and weavershouse! You are making me all sentimental for the old girls, and that sweet singing they do as they scratch around in the dirt!  If it's a pretty weekend, I just might clean up the pen a bit- well you know....just in case! I know! When the local feed and seed has them in the spring, I can take Emily with me. That way when I bring a box full home, I can say SHE wanted them! It works when we go to the grocery store and come home with 4 different kinds of ice cream, and not what we actually went after!

   But seriously, the hens are beautiful, and so are the eggs. And I think I will go take a peek at the pen... you know just in case! (Oh yea and the balut thing was pretty nasty. Didn't mean to gross ya'll out too bad!)

                                

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I have such hen envy!  Those are beautiful little boogers and I’d love to have some.  I doubt they’d fit into the neighborhood so well being in the middle of the city although I’d like to try.

 

The closest I’ve ever come to having my own hens is really kind of funny.  Kind of.  My sister and I both won a contest at our local movie theater when we were just grade-school age.  We were just excited as could be having never won anything.  The prize?  The prize was a little baby chick to each of us.  Mine was dyed cobalt blue and my sister’s was bright hot pink.  Of course, my mother was more than amazed and perplexed when we came walking home with those oddly (but we thought quite beautiful) colored baby chicks.

 

Since we could not keep them at our home they were relegated to my grandfather’s hobby farm where he kept some cattle and a few horses and a various other animals for us kids to play with from time to time. I remember watching those chickens grow up and of course eventually becoming white hens.  (Darn, where did those pretty colored feathers go!)  One day we learned that those chickens weren’t around any longer.  I think we ate them for dinner but we didn’t find that out until long afterward.  Geez, that sounds kinda of mean, huh. 

 

I’ve always loved those gorgeous blue and green eggs I see Martha Stewart grows…er…that her hens lay.  Those are just fabulous to me.

 

The eggs I buy here are organic and have beautiful orange yolks and once you’ve used those you can’t go back.  I really should look into finding a farm in my area to buy from.  I suppose being in Nebraska that would not be hard to do! 

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

They seem to bring back memories and great stories. I hope everyone here who wants their own hens will be able to get them or the fresh eggs.                                                                                          weavershouse

2ndchance's picture
2ndchance

2ndchance

I had to jump in here. We have over 40 hens and I just want to encourage anyone that has room and can have them in their area to keep chickens. They are very easy to care for and very fun to have. We also have roosters. The roosters are important for the hens as they watch over them and alert them to any dangers and will usually be the one that gets killed by the intruder. The relationships between the hens and the roosters are fun to watch. The roosters will call for the girls when he finds something to eat and they will run over and he will stand back so they can eat. They go in on their own at sundown and are locked up safely every night.

We sell our extra eggs in a cart out at the road on the honor system. The people in our area love being able to stop by and get farm fresh eggs. They can see all the chickens out free ranging when they pick up the eggs so they know how healthy and happy they are.  

 We gather eggs at least twice a day. It's like going on Easter egg hunts daily. Very enjoyable. If we find a pile of eggs that the hens have hidden and we have no idea how old they are, they are tossed on the compost pile. That is only if they are not being "set" on by a hen. If there is a hen with them, we leave them alone and let her hatch them. As long as you know that you are picking up recent eggs there should be no trouble in ever finding one with serious problems inside. There may be an occasional spot or imperfection but it is usually very minor. Even store-bought eggs can sometimes have a little spot that was missed. It is always best to break the egg into something first to be sure it is ok before putting it into the rest of the ingredients. The fresh eggs are great for making a scratch Angel Food cake.

Just my little plug for keeping chickens.   

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I love to hear about everyone's birds!

A lot of towns are becoming tolerant of a few birds (not usually roosters though) even in neighborhoods. We're allowed 4 here--which really is more than plenty of eggs for most families, and quite easy to take care of on such a small scale. I love them for gardening as they're great for my compost bin, plus they eat my garden waste as well. I never feel bad for having overripe tomatoes or leaving lettuce to bolt anymore, I have very grateful recipients.

A few pics from my "flock". We're actually down to three girls this winter as we lost one to an injury last summer. They too just finished molting and I'm currently getting an egg every other day--just enough to keep me from having to buy any. My dog fills in as an honorary rooster--at least for the protection part! The second pic is a trifecta of eggs right when they first started laying--that one was a doozy! And, to keep this slightly on topic--they are GREAT for baking :)

 

 

browndog's picture
browndog

Breadnerd, you win the blue ribbon for cute. Also very elegant-looking rooster/dog--what kind?

A four-chicken limit puts me in mind of the chicken police coming along and confiscating surplus hens.

Yes, doesn't this thread seem about ready to lay an egg recipe or two? 

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

The rooster dog is a mutt--probably heeler (cattle dog) and lab. Not really very likely breeds to be good with chickens, but he's been great.

 

Hmm, egg recipes. Not very breadlike but my favorite is huevos rancheros---a few eggs sort of poached in some bubbling salsa, served on top of fried tortillas with cheese and sour cream.

 

I have been on an english muffin baking kick of late, and made bacon/egg/cheese muffins. There we go!

browndog's picture
browndog

That's the beauty of eggs, of course--scramble some up and add some cheese and fried onions and you're golden.

He's a very handsome dog, that, whatever his lineage.

Has anyone ever tried migas? 

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Was that very big, oddly shaped egg a double yoker?  By any chance?

 

Browndog, that reminds me of an egg joke so this is for you. 

What was Snow White's sister's name?  ...Egg White...get the yoke! 

 

Ho ho ho!  Ok, you are all free to groan.  Yep, that's a groaner.

browndog's picture
browndog

Zolablue, you reveal hidden depths.

Wanting to do a little scienctific research on his magnificent brain, scientists disinterred Beethoven. They  found him sitting up in his coffin with a pencil and a sheet of paper, busily erasing. When the researchers asked in amazement, "Beethoven, what are you doing?!" he responded,

"Decomposing." 

 What do you mean that's got nothing to do with chickens..?

 

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Browndog, that was a cute jolk.   Who says I can't spell!  (lol)  (I do really know yolk is spelled yolk but too busy thinking about my punchline "yoke" to get the first "yolk" spelled correctly.  However, I digress...

browndog's picture
browndog

I thought the play of 'yoke' against 'joke' was entirely valid, zolablue.

We should just count our chickens, er, blessings I mean, that this thread hasn't deteriorated into 'why did the chicken..' jokes. 

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

That was definitely a 2-yolker!  It was practically two whole eggs joined with a seam.  I can only imagine what the chicken thought! 

 

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

where the second egg went to...

Mini O

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

I get a lot of odd shapes when collecting eggs and this past Friday was no different :)

On an earlier post I said a 4 yolk egg was as big as a softball, well my memory is really off because I was thinking of a hard ball. A soft ball would be more along the lines of a goose or swan or maybe a small Ostrich egg :) 

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

wow. Whats wrong with the egg in the last picture?

It looks a bit funky!

 

 

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

That last egg is a shell within a shell. One of the many variations that are graded out during processing.

I used to use jumbos when baking then found my recipes were a little too sloppy, because a jumbo for us is far larger than a jumbo at the processor.

Perhaps when we move to free range there might be a lower incidence of variation. 

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

wow. a shell with in a shell! I have never seen anything like it! I am fascinated and grossed out at the same time!

 

 

browndog's picture
browndog

 by defective.

Yes, that glurky one reminds me of some of the things my son would bring home under the dubious heading of 'toy' when he was in grade school.

The little egg looks about the size of a guinea hen egg. 

cordel's picture
cordel

Those are some scary looking eggs.

syllymom's picture
syllymom

Those are some stranger looking eggs.  My parents had their own chickens and they'd get the odd looking egg but for the most part they were pretty consistent.  My understanding with the thin shells is a lack of calcium in their diet. 

I do like free-range eggs.... especially in the summer months.  If we ever move to the country I'm pretty sure I'd be getting a few chickens.